This past weekend, dozens of millennials turned up at Converse Rubber Tracks in Williamsburg for the final two sessions of Cons Project: Brooklyn. The program —the first part of a wider global initiative —was created to inspire the next generation of musicians by linking them with established artists and offering substantial, free-of-charge lessons in a variety of creative realms.
At Saturday’s seminar, Benjamin Weinman and Billy Rymer of New Jersey-based rock band The Dillinger Escape Plan led a day-long workshop about recording live instruments. Joined by sound engineer Kevin Antreassian and producer William Putney, the dudes demonstrated how to be inventive when working in Pro Tools and offered up helpful tips for recording in unconventional locations. They also fielded practical questions about working insanely long hours and not always having time for everyday things, like shaving or spending time with friends. “Producing is half science and half art,” Putney explained in the afternoon, just before the teens and 20-somethings began the hands-on portion of the workshop. About half chose to mess around with the extensive selection of electric guitars Converse had on site, while the percussion-inclined headed into a side room to practice recording live drums. Later, one lucky attendee won a pair of Converse’s just-released throwback sneakers.
On Sunday, hip-hop producer (and one-half of rap duo Run The Jewels) El-P teamed up with songwriter and DJ Nick Hook for an in-depth lesson in production wizardry, outboard effects, and the often tricky mechanics of digital audio software like Ableton Live. “This isn’t just about looking at a screen,” El-P said during a demonstration about warping well-known samples until they’re no longer recognizable. “It’s about using your ears and playing with nobs—the process has to be fun.” See a selection of photos from the weekend above, and check back for a chance to attend to the Cons Project: Brooklyn wrap party on January 24th, featuring a special performance by El-P himself.